Manufactured Spending

Miles, Money Orders and Prepaid Cards

A few weeks ago I wrote about buying miles with my Alaska Airlines Debit Card. According to reports, you can earn miles by using the card to purchase money orders at the “world’s largest retailer.” I had my doubts, but decided to test it out before canceling my card. My Alaska MileagePlan statement was recently updated and I’m happy to report the miles have posted! 

Since I can now conform that money orders do earn miles when purchased as a PIN-based transaction, this opens up a few doors.

As you’ve probably read on every points and miles blog out there, American Express and Walmart have recently released the Bluebird card. It’s a prepaid card that can be funded with Vanilla Reload cards. It’s marketed as an alternative to traditional checking accounts and can be used to send money and pay bills online. 

In addition to Bluebird, the American Express Prepaid and American Express for Target cards offer opportunities to meet spending requirements and earn points cheaply. Bluebird can be loaded up to $5,000 per month, while the other two cards are limited to $2,500 per month. All cards have ATM access and you can maintain up to two Amex Prepaid and Amex Target cardsWith so many cards to juggle, you may find yourself at a loss for how to spend the funds.

One way is to withdraw some of the funds at an ATM. Do not cash out the entire balance, or your accounts will get shut down. Bluebird allows up to $400 in ATM withdrawals per day, but I would personally only use this feature once a month. 

This is where money orders come in. If you need to withdraw additional funds, try purchasing a money order at “the world’s largest retailer.” Money orders at my local store only cost $0.55 and can be purchased using a debit card. Since prepaid cards have PIN numbers, you should be able to use these cards for money orders and the transaction will appear as a regular store purchase on your statement, thus avoiding suspicion.

I currently have all three Amex prepaid cards. If the money order method works, the process of earning miles will have less of a financial burden attached to it.

Do you use prepaid cards as a point-earning method? Have you used them to buy money orders? I’d love to get your feedback on how this has worked out for you.

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